Rearrangement of CRLF2 is associated with mutation of JAK kinases, alteration of IKZF1, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and a poor outcome in pediatric B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
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Gene expression profiling of 207 uniformly treated children with high-risk B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia revealed 29 of 207 cases (14%) with markedly elevated expression of CRLF2 (cytokine receptor-like factor 2). Each of the 29 cases harbored a genomic rearrangement of CRLF2: 18 of 29 (62%) had a translocation of the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene IGH@ on 14q32 to CRLF2 in the pseudoautosomal region 1 of Xp22.3/Yp11.3, whereas 10 (34%) cases had a 320-kb interstitial deletion centromeric of CRLF2, resulting in a P2RY8-CRLF2 fusion. One case had both IGH@-CRLF2 and P2RY8-CRLF2, and another had a novel CRLF2 rearrangement. Only 2 of 29 cases were Down syndrome. CRLF2 rearrangements were significantly associated with activating mutations of JAK1 or JAK2, deletion or mutation of IKZF1, and Hispanic/Latino ethnicity (Fisher exact test, P < .001 for each). Within this cohort, patients with CRLF2 rearrangements had extremely poor treatment outcomes compared with those without CRLF2 rearrangements (35.3% vs 71.3% relapse-free survival at 4 years; P < .001). Together, these observations suggest that activation of CRLF2 expression, mutation of JAK kinases, and alterations of IKZF1 cooperate to promote B-cell leukemogenesis and identify these pathways as important therapeutic targets in this disease.